Vikings Weekly Progress Report: Ponder's Decisions Put Playoffs in Jeapordy

Andrew GardaFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2012

ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 16: Christian Ponder #7 of the Minnesota Vikings scrambles to avoid getting sacked against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on December 16, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

We've spent the last few months marveling at Adrian Peterson's efforts, and after this past week, it's not hard to imagine the Vikings will continue to use him early and often for the last two games.

Peterson gives them the tool they need to win games. He also gives them the tool they need to cover for Christian Ponder.

At this point, there is no other way to say it—Ponder is a liability.

I'm not saying the Vikings should ditch him, replace him or give up on him. You want to give a quarterback a few years to develop and really Ponder is only a year-and-a-half into his tenure as starting quarterback of the Vikings.

That's not to say having him pass is the best path to a win right now and if they want to make the playoffs, they need wins.

After some solid play early in the season, Ponder has regressed and in a big way. His decision-making is abominable at times. Ponder ditches out of the pocket far too swiftly.

Once out, he does one of two things, both badly. He either tries to force balls to receivers who are covered and throws behind them or just flat out misses them.

Other times Ponder holds the ball too long and takes a sack.

Occasionally, he does a little of both.

A couple of weeks back, while being sacked, Ponder tried to throw the ball away.

Or at least that's what it seemed like, but to be honest it's hard to tell what he was trying to do and he was very lucky the officials gave him the benefit of the doubt and ruled him "in the grasp" and the ball not fumbled.

I was watching the movie "Serenity" the other day (remember I'm a nerd), and one character described another in a way which with encapsulates Ponder's efforts under pressure.

"You run when you oughta fight, fight when you oughta deal. You're unpredictable... Makes a businessperson twitchy."

Ponder's decisions under pressure should make the team and fans "twitchy" because they cost the Vikings games.

For two games, they've essentially taken the ball out of their quarterback's hands and he's still had some close calls.

So the Vikings have to continue to run Peterson, but not just because he is a tremendous runner capable of taking over an entire game.

They have to run him to make up for Ponder.

Hopefully that won't always be the case. It certainly seems to be so now, though.

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